Indiana Governor Mike Pence
(Indianapolis, Ind.) – Indiana Governor Mike Pence is pushing back at Statehouse Democrats who accuse him of not holding public hearings on the state’s plans to expand the Healthy Indiana Plan.
Pence wants to use HIP in place of a Medicaid expansion required by the federal Affordable Care Act through 2016, but the move requires a waiver. Federal regulators kicked the governor’s waiver request back on February 25, saying that public hearings must be held first.
This week, House Minority Leader Scott Pelath and Senate Minority Leader Tim Lanane accused the Pence administration of not being transparent. Pence responded in a letter to Pelath and Lanane Thursday.
“In an effort to be proactive, we provided Secretary Sebelius with an advance copy of our renewed waiver application on February 13, 2013. This application, which is not materially different from the State’s previous application, was posted on the Healthy Indiana Plan website immediately after it was sent to HHS. FSSA posted a notice of administrative public hearing in the Indiana Register on February 20, 2013,” Pence wrote.
A governor’s office spokesperson said Thursday the state submitted its federal application to expand Medicaid using the state-run Healthy Indiana Plan before holding public hearings so CMS officials could begin their review. If the expansion and extension of the HIP program is not approved by June, the state could be forced to end coverage for 40,000 low income residents.
Pence added that two public hearings are scheduled for March 20 and 22 in Indianapolis.
“The February 25, 2013 letter from HHS does not indicate in any way that the waiver application process has been jeopardized. It does, however, speak to the flawed bureaucratic process that has impeded progress on our successful Healthy Indiana Plan,” Pence said in the letter.
Indiana’s Family and Social Services Administration must re-file a revised application with the CMS. It will have to include comment from the public hearings or an explanation why the hearings were not needed.